Legislature must act on several bills Monday

Print More

Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today

Mississippi Capitol

The Legislature has until the end of the day Monday to take action on several bills or they will die.

These bills all were passed by their original chamber by Thursday but have failed to clear a procedural hurdle in order to be sent to the other chamber for action.

Several of the bills have gotten significant attention this legislative session.

For example, in the Senate, Senate Bill 2657 would give the governor control of the Department of Mental Health. The was the brainchild of Republicans and had the backing of both Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Gov. Phil Bryant.

But the bill came under fire from members of both parties on the Senate floor, ultimately passing by one vote, 25-24. It was held on a motion to reconsider and that motion must be tabled by a majority of senators today to release the bill to the House for consideration.

The bill would let the governor appoint the executive director of the department, and it would demote the Board of Mental Health from a governing body to an advisory council. State leaders have long criticized the Department of Mental Health for what they’ve said is a bloated staff and budget.

Proponents say putting the agency under the governor will make it more accontable. Opponents have said doing so would politicize the delivery of needed services.

The original legislation would have given the governor the reins to the Departments of Health and Rehabilitation Services as well, but those agencies were removed from the bill through amendments.

Similarly in the House there has been much discussion about House Bill 1425 , which would give the governor the authority to veto regulations of any state “occupational licensing board” controlled by “active market participants.”

Proponents say this bill would prevent some lawsuits from being filed. Opponents say this bill removes consolidates more state agencies under the supervision of the governor.

A similar bill was killed in a Senate committee.

Other Senate bills facing a deadline today to survive:

Senate Bill 2634: Create new fund for BP settlement funds for “projects benefiting the Gulf Coast.”

Senate Bill 2625: Cleans up problems encountered after 2016’s special fund sweeps law.

Senate Bill 2632: State agencies and universities cannot use public dollars to pay for outside lobbyists.

Senate Bill 2710: No “sanctuary cities” would be permitted in Mississippi.

In the House, these bills were up for reconsideration:

House Bill 704 Provides board members of the Chickasawhay Natural Gas District per diem for continuing education training.

House Bill 1210 — Require youth courts to provide redacted copies of child’s records to child’s parent or guardian upon request of that parent or guardian.

House Bill 920 — Would provide the option of sentencing children to life without parole instead of certain crimes automatically triggering life without parole for children, which the U.S. Supreme Court has said is unconstitutional.